Engineers construct school in Thailand

| August 4, 2011 | 0 Comments
Spc. Sierra Blotter (left) and Pfc. Mitchell Spohn (right), both interior electricians with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, learn how to stucco the exterior of a building they are constructing alongside engineers from the Royal Thai army. (Photos Courtesy of 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC)

Spc. Sierra Blotter (left) and Pfc. Mitchell Spohn (right), both interior electricians with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, learn how to stucco the exterior of a building they are constructing alongside engineers from the Royal Thai army. (Photos Courtesy of 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC)

643rd Engineer Company
84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command

Ayara Guardian 2011 provides Soldiers with excellent construction, cultural experience

PRAN BURI, Thailand — A new, 1,700-square-foot Early Childhood Development Center was the product of Army engineers from Hawaii after a recent deployment, here.

Soldiers of the 643rd Eng. Company, 84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, recently returned from a three-day humanitarian and civic action mission in support of Ayara Guardian 2011.

The exercise is an annual, international, multilateral training event focused on joint peacekeeping operations.

The 643rd Eng. Co. sent 30 Soldiers from its 1st Platoon to participate in the Engineer Civic Action Project, or ENCAP, portion of the exercise.

During the ENCAP mission, Soldiers spent 35 days bunked in the Thailand Infantry Training Center. They were on duty seven days a week, building an Early Childhood Development Center for the Nong Ta Yen school, here, about 130 miles south of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital.

The project was an excellent training event for the platoon, both in construction tasks and cultural emersion.

“It’s not often that the Soldiers can work on a project that utilizes all (military occupational specialty skills), concurrently, but the (Early Childhood Development Center) really showcased the capabilities of these Soldiers,” said 1st Lt. Andrew Hill, officer in charge of the project and platoon leader.

The engineers partnered with 22 engineer soldiers from the 13th Mobile Development Unit, Royal Thai armed forces to complete the one-story, concrete-masonry building that included electrical power and a functioning sink fed by rain water collection cisterns.

“I’ve worked in construction for the majority of my life, and being able to work alongside the Thai soldiers, sharing their knowledge and culture, was an incredible experience,” said Spc. John Sanders, carpentry and masonry specialist, 643rd Eng. Co. “It was hard work, but (it was) a great time for the platoon.”

During the rigorous schedule, Soldiers were given two days off to visit historical sites and experience Thai culture.

Soldiers observed a Buddhist wedding ceremony of one of the Thai soldiers, visited Huay Mongkol and Khao Takiab temples, and participated in National Teacher’s Day. They also took every opportunity to converse daily with Thai soldiers, interpreters and, most importantly, the children of the school.

Pfc. Orasio Romero (third from right) and Spc. Robert Hurtst (second from right), both carpentry and masonry specialists, and Pfc. Angel Puebla (right), an interior electrician, all with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, participate in a wedding ceremony for one of their Royal Thai army counterparts, recently, during exercise Ayara Guardian 11.

Pfc. Orasio Romero (third from right) and Spc. Robert Hurtst (second from right), both carpentry and masonry specialists, and Pfc. Angel Puebla (right), an interior electrician, all with the 643rd Eng. Co., 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th TSC, participate in a wedding ceremony for one of their Royal Thai army counterparts, recently, during exercise Ayara Guardian 11.

The project provided invaluable training for Soldiers, and leaders gained valuable lessons in working with other cultures. Ayara Guardian, and exercises like it, give young lieutenants and seasoned noncommissioned officers the experience of working alongside partner nations in a non-combat environment.

“In today’s asymmetric environment, the skills demanded of our leaders are difficult to replicate in a non-combat atmosphere,” said Capt. Orland Craig, commander, 643rd Eng. Co. “By participating in these multilateral events, it gives Soldiers, NCOs and platoon leaders a chance to hone the skills of adaptive leadership required in a safe and constructive environment.”

The 84th Eng. Bn. and its only vertical company, the 643rd Eng. Co., will continue to participate in ENCAP missions in Thailand, Mongolia, the Philippines and other countries in the Pacific.

The 643rd Eng. Co. Soldiers are currently deployed to Mongolia on a similar ENCAP mission in support of Khan Quest 2011.

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Category: Deployed Forces, Exercises, News

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